Despite not “digging” the Arkham Asylum demo all those years ago, I got thoroughly hooked on the full game. This surprised me, as I’m normally not a fan of stealth action games, but you don’t have to play 100% stealth with Batman and even when you do, the hiding is varied and fun, rather than rigid and frustrating.
I played Arkham City and enjoyed that as well, although it wasn’t as good as the first game. The interior sections were great, but the outdoor city traversal bits didn’t really fit so well. I’d heard that Arkham Origins was a little further away from perfection again, but I figured that even it it was half as good as Asylum, it’d still be better than most other games.
So far, I’ve been mostly right. It’s set before both previous games, but in the main city so much of the map I’ve been through so far is familiar, if a bit less run down and ruined. It’s still pretty much devoid of anyone bar thugs though, which seems silly.
The plot is mainly about Black Mask, a shadowy mafia type boss who has hired a load of assassins to bump off Batman, and Batman’s attempts to find both him and why he’s doing this. Although most of the assassins are lesser known Batman villains (at least one was created for this game, I believe), I’ve already come up against the Penguin in his arms dealer role. One of his floozies, Tracey, has this awesome British accent and kept saying I was “proper nawty”. Was almost a shame to break her arm and chuck her in a cage.
I’ve had two boss fights so far. One was incredibly easy (literally one hit) with “The Electrocutioner”, who was all mouth and no trousers. The other was really pretty difficult against Deathstroke, who took a lot of counterattacking and bat-clawing to take down. Many, many retries there.
Aside from those bits, it’s all what is now pretty standard Batman fare. Picking off guards one by one by stringing them up, creeping up behind them, or grabbing them off ledges. Hacking computers. Scanning things in Detective Mode. It’s all the same as what went before, but that isn’t a bad thing as that’s what makes these games so good. That and the meaty you-can-feel-the-punches combat, anyway.
What isn’t good, and what seems to be a common thing with more and more games these days, are the bugs. Some really nasty ones which really break the game, and have been pretty frequent. There are two main recurring bugs I’ve come across: The first is when all the on-screen prompts disappear, which makes it harder in general but when it happened fighting Deathstroke and it’s essential for countering attacks, a nightmare. Image QTEs only without any prompts. Somewhat hard.
The other was when the camera decided to “lock on” to something which I’d been forced into looking at (e.g. another character), but was then never released properly, meaning I (as the viewer, not Batman himself) continued to look at the same point even when walking away from it. This also happened in the Deathstroke fight.
There are other bugs (I had a FMV sequence hang, but only for video – the sound, and then the game, continued but I couldn’t see anything but a frame of the video), but nothing as major as these. Just more sloppiness, I suppose. It’s a shame coming into another bugfest right after The Lego Movie videogame, but at least the game good enough that I still want to play it.